Visualising Spatial Complexity of Urban Sites
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Recent research has linked urban design to artistic practice, and it is suggested that urban design could become refocused if conceived of as an integrative art of place. However, the urban design research methods literature is silent on the topic of artistic practice, and therefore the potential for interpretative, abductive knowledge to emerge from creative visualisation in urban design is under-appreciated. More specifically, regarding evaluation for urban design, complexity theories of cities claim that understanding complexity in particular enhances our ability to organise knowledge in relation to cities, and it is further argued that complexity theory responds to a need for a knowledge leap in planning, design and maintenance of cities, to rise to global urban challenges and crises. In this context, visualising spatial complexity of urban sites through artistic practice is useful to urban design. The specifically spatial complexity of urban sites, (as the spatial component of urban complexity), has not previously been explored, evaluated or visualised for urban design. This paper argues that in creatively visualising spatial complexity, multi-scalar, relational and temporal aspects of the urban built environment can be captured, and this visualisation communicates a unique ‘signature’ of each urban site.